#SavetheHermitage – No More destruction of designated heritage buildings

Say NO to another case of destruction of our designated heritage.

What can you do?

1.) Spread the word – Tweet, Facebook, Youtube or Post the news to your friends

2.) Tell the Permits Sub-Committee No.

 

Hermitage Ruins, Hamilton (Ancaster), Ontario
Hermitage Ruins, Hamilton (Ancaster), Ontario

The Hamilton Conservation Authority wants to partial demolish Ancaster’s Hermitage Ruins to a height of three feet.  The HCA will be going before Hamilton’s heritage Permits sub-subcommittee in the middle of May 2014 for permission.

Make your voice heard and demand that HCA properly save the Heritage Ruins.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

 

Hamilton Artist Update 14: Standing Out

A weekly review of art related activities by artist, Chris Erskine. Updates are posted every Monday.

This week:
1.) New Name
2.) Standing Out From The Crowd
3.) Going Live
4.) The Hermitage Ruins

1. New Name

I have re-named my weekly update to Hamilton Artist Update. I hope this name achieves three goals:

– it will appear in searches of Hamilton

– it will clearly associate myself with Hamilton, Ontario

– the order of postings will be clearer

This last point was inspired by the Youtube channel called “This Week in Tech.” They have over 400 episodes, and their numbering system seems to be a very good way of organizing videos and blog postings.

2. Standing Out From the Crowd

I find it truly amazing how little is available on Hamilton via Youtube, blogs, and websites. So, given the small size of this internet universe, you would think my Youtube or Blog would appear easily in search engine results. My name is buried by Chris Erskine the soccer player or the L.A. Times columnist. My blog “Fat Cats and Starving Dogs” is lost among the references to the movie, Margin Call.

I am impressed by Bruce Jones and his work on using Google and Youtube to promote your channel. He is very helpful in explaining the logic behind search engine results and how you can use it to market your products or services.

As a result, I have tried to re-shape the words that describe my video content so that my material appears more readily in search engine results.

3. Going Live

This past week, I also came across Steve Garfield’s channel on Youtube via Bruce Jones. Steve Garfield provides another perspective on making your blogs and Youtube channels stand out from the crowd. However, what struck me most was how he used live video to gain exposure on national American networks. Now, I not interested in that sort of thing, but it got me thinking of different sorts of art events that I could broadcast to the community. Combining Steve Garfield’s examples with some of the things that Bruce Jones was suggesting, and I can see a whole new range of possibilities.

For example, broadcasting live from one of my sketching locations. I always get a lot attention and feedback from the public. Now, I can incorporate that reaction into a video that can also be archived and playback later.

So, for the past few days, I have worked on the mechanics of doing live video and what locations might have Wi-Fi access.

4. The Hermitage Ruins

Hermitage Ruins, Hamilton (Ancaster), Ontario
Hermitage Ruins, Hamilton (Ancaster), Ontario

As I have already mentioned, the Permit’s Sub-committee has delayed their consideration of the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s request for a partial demolition of the Hermitage Ruins out in Ancaster. At the moment, the foundation is weakening and the HCA solution is to tear the surviving walls down to a height of three feet. The Permits sub-committee occurs on the same night and time as Hamilton City Council, so I understand that they will change to a new date so that more people can attend the meeting.

 

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Hermitage Ruins Not History Yet!

The Hermitage Ruins have a little more time before the future is decided.

The Permits sub-committee was to hear the request by the Hamilton Conservation Authority to demolish most of the surviving walls to a height of 3 feet.  Apparently, more people wanted to attend the meeting, so the meeting has been re-scheduled to May. Hopefully, the HCA will use the time to reflect on the value of the property and decide to do a proper restoration as their consulted had suggested.

 

Hermitage Ruins, Hamilton (Ancaster), Ontario
Hermitage Ruins, Hamilton (Ancaster), Ontario

Chris Erskine

ChrisErskine@gmail.com

@erskinec

 

Hamilton Artist Update for April 21, 2014.

A weekly review of art related activities by artist, Chris Erskine.  Updates are posted every Monday.

This week:

  1. Heritage Decision-Making Questioned
  2. Another Demolition in the Works
  3. Historical TH&B Bridge Prepares to Come Down
  4. Putting Hamilton into Updates
  5. Sounds Better – new equipment

 

  1. Heritage Decision-Making Questioned

The Durand Neighbourhood Association questioned why the Heritage Permit Review Sub- Committee’s decision to allow the partial demolition of the James Street Baptist Church in Hamilton Ontario was not reviewed and approved by the Hamilton Municipal Heritage Committee and Hamilton City Council.  The Heritage Committee argued that the Permits Committee had the authority to delegate decision-making to staff.

 

  1. Another Demolition in the Works

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is seeking the partial demolition of the Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster, Ontario.  The HCA wants to demolish the surviving walls to a height of three feet.  The request goes before the Heritage Permit Review Sub-Committee this Wednesday (April 23, 2014).

 

  1. Historical TH&B Bridge Prepares to Come Down

The City of Hamilton is preparing to demolish the last surviving TH&B Bridge.  The Bridge was built in 1894 and provided street access over the railway line that cuts through the Durand and Corktown neighbourhoods.

 

  1. Putting Hamilton into Updates

To make the Updates more unique, I have changed the title of the Updates from Monday’s Artist Update to Hamilton Artist Update.  Hopefully, this will make it easier to locate within Google and Youtube searches.

  1. Sounds Better – new equipment

As anyone who follows my blog knows, good quality sound has been a challenge.  This past week, I started using the Rode shotgun microphone with a dead-cat wind screen.  The results seem fairly good and will help with outdoor location shootings.

 

Hamilton’s Heritage Committee Gets Ear full From Voters

James Street Baptist Church, is a heritage designated building in the City of Hamilton, Ontario.  It is the oldest surviving Baptist Church in the City of Hamilton, Ontario.

Declining church membership and increasing repair costs caused the congregation to sell the building. The Developer, who purchased the building, wants to build condos on the site and save as much of the heritage designated building as possible.

After taking ownership, however, the Developer says he found structural problems that posed a safety risk to the public and sought permission from the City to demolish part of the building.

A sub-committee of the City’s heritage committee (the Permits Committee) agreed to the developer’s request for a partial demolition.

Since the granting of the demolition permit, the Durand Neighbourhood Association, within which the Church is located, has questioned why the demolition permit did not come to the City’s Heritage Committee and then City Council for review and approval.

On April 17th, the Heritage Committee received presentations from the neighbourhood association and the developer.

Local and Independent Reporter, Joey Coleman, provided live video of the meeting.  This video coverage is now posted to his Youtube site.

Below is the video and a time line guide to the two presentations and the questions from the committee.  This is only a guide, for exact wording of questions, answers, and comments, please refer to Joey’s video of the meeting.

Many thanks to Joey Coleman for covering the meeting and his excellent reporting of City Hamilton business.

Video of the Heritage Meeting of April 17th, 2014

 

Timeline Guide to the Meeting

 

Janice Brown, Durand Neighbourhood Association (about 18 mins long)

Presentation starts at about the 11:20 mark.

 

13:26 – discussion of the memorandum on the delegation of Council authority to staff

 

16:10 – Brown has concerns over why the memorandum was not made into a bylaw

 

16:50 – Brown asks several questions of the Heritage including

 

–         Why did the staff and representatives not recognize that James Street Baptist was an extraordinary application?

–         Why was the application not flagged

–         Why did it not go to full consideration by the heritage committee?

–         Why did people not realize that this is a controversial issue and should have been forwarded to planning and economic development committee and Council for final approval?

 

18:45 – questions continue

 

If you disregarded this statement (memorandum) then how did you make the decision to not forward to planning and economic development and Council?

 

–         Don’t know your criteria is?

 

Brown explains the importance of the delegation of authority to staff on the Durand neighbourhood.

 

Brown notes that the Durand neighbourhood may have the most of the heritage designated buildings in Hamilton.  The neighbourhood also has two conservation districts. In the future, any of these buildings might come down without clear criteria.

 

20:00 Brown reads a letter to the Heritage Committee

 

24:00 Chair of the Heritage Committee

 

Chair notes that the procedures put in place were followed.

 

25.00 Questions by Paul Wilson, member of the Heritage Committee

 

–         Bump-up procedures (memorandum) were never made part of the bylaw?

 

25:45   – Comment is made that this should be looked at.

 

26:45   – Jason Farr comments on the Durand Presentation

 

–         Farr notes that he respected the process that was in place

–         This situation provides an opportunity to address this process for future decisions

–         We do this every 5 years, so it is time

 

29:00   – The Durand Neighbourhood Association’s Presentation is received by the Heritage Committee.

 

Louie Santaguida, Stanton Renaissance Presentation (about 16 mins)

 

29.00 – Starts immediately after the end of the Heritage Committee votes to receive the Durand Neighbourhood Association

 

–        Have worked hand-in-hand with the City

–        The City has worked very hard to ensure that every policy and procedure has been keep

–        Have gone beyond (what is required??)

–        One of the very first buildings where you got a letter of credit so that the preservation is maintain

–        View this as a community changer

–        Jason Farr has been kept abreast as far as we can

 

32.00 – Update on the Project

 

–         The hoarding has gone up (the temporary fencing)

–         The road has been closed off

–         Looking at how much can be saved

–         A structural (support wall is being built to protect part of the structure??)

 

32.56 – Update continues

 

–         we are in the design links of the project

–         we are (in a position of) not knowing what we can be built

–         this is not typical

–         being done because of the structural integrity of the building

–         working on issues of parking

 

34.15 – Update continues

 

–         trying to maintain more strain glass

–         trying to incorporate more public space

–         concept plans (should be ready) in about four weeks

 

36.00 – there was an alternative and we decided not to go down that route

 

Questions by Paul Wilson

 

Wilson expresses concern about a heritage building being knotting down without a plan being in place.

 

Is the City telling you that it needs to be torn down now?

 

They gave you a demolition permit, it wasn’t the City’s order that you tear down the building?

 

38.00 – Questions continue

 

Why does it (James Street Baptist Church) need to come down now, before we know what’s going in its place?

 

Can you share a little more about what will go in there?

 

39.49 – Questions continue

 

What is the status of the north wall?

 

When do you hope this project will be completed?

 

Do you have any concerns (regarding completing the project)?

 

40.40 – the Chair of the Permits Committee (who is a member of the Heritage Committee) comments that he has read the original engineering report and is surprised that a demolition order wasn’t put out by the City.

 

41.20 – Rather save some of it than none of it

 

41.29 – Another member of the Heritage Committee cites other buildings that had serious problems and were able to be saved, asks the Developer if there other possibilities for the James Street Baptist Church?

 

43.43 Heritage Committee votes to receive Louie Santaguida’s, Stanton Renaissance Presentation

 

Committee moves onto other issues.

 

Chris Erskine, @erskinec

Monday’s Artist Update for April 14, 2014

A weekly review of art related activities by artist Chris Erskine.

This week:

1.)           Will Cuts Impact CBC Hamilton?

2.)           Are We There Yet? – Backpack Journalism

3.)           So, what is this Blog All About?

4.)           Hamilton’s 24 Hour Film Festival Returns

 

Will Cuts Impact CBC Hamilton?

Commentary – On Thursday, CBC announced 657 job cuts over two years because of a budget shortfall.  I cannot help but wonder if there may be an impact on CBC Hamilton.

The CBC Hamilton is a digital outlet and may represent the future for the entire Network.  Working with limited resources, the station has done a remarkable job at covering significant stories from the community.

You could envision, however, that the unconventional format (digital) and the short history (opened on May 9, 2012) may make the Hamilton operations vulnerable to more established interests within the CBC Network.

I, also, believe that  CBC Hamilton has been weak in its coverage of the Arts and Music scene. This is particularly surprising given its location on James Street North. On my most critical days, I feel that CBC Hamilton is trying to be the next Hamilton Spectator rather than focusing on building its own unique brand within the Hamilton community.

This being said, CBC Hamilton is only two years old and needs to be given more time and resources so that it may develop to its full potential.

So, as this story plays out, I believe everyone must be ready to defend CBC Hamilton, and ensure that our stories continue to be told.

 

Are We There Yet? Backpack Journalism

Commentary – 10 or 15 years ago, the technology did not exist for an individual to document and broadcast to the world.  Today, with the internet and technology that can fit into a backpack, an individual can create documentaries or provide alternative news reporting.

Locally, we can see this with Joey Coleman and his coverage of Hamilton City Hall.

I recently came across some Youtube videos that may give you a better feel for this new type of journalism.

Bill Gentile is an independent journalist and documentary film-maker and he has some nice videos on backpack journalism.

 

 

So, What this Blog All About?

Fat Cats – Starving Dogs is a blog about my experience as an artist.  It is an open journal of my struggles to explore my truth, and express that understanding of the truth through inks, paints, and films.

I use text and film to tell my stories,  about the creative process, to the larger world.  I am not trying to be a reporter on the art scene, or to sell stuff, or to simply re-cycle information from other sources.  instead, I am trying to create original content based on my experiences as an artist.  I use other sources when that information impacts my interests as an artist.

In the war between perfection and getting it out there, I will side with the latter.  Nevertheless, I am striving for the best content possible.  So, this blog is a work in progress and your patience is appreciated.

 

What Are the Stories?

As an Artist, I am interested in buildings and how these objects express who we are as individuals and as communities.

If you think about the time and resources that go into constructing, outfitting, and maintaining these creations then that must tell us something about who we are.

Like people, buildings have beginnings, middles and ends.  They not only influence the people who live and work there, but the surrounding landscape, as well.

I am particularly interested in historical and heritage buildings because we have the perspective in terms of time and experience to more clearly appreciate them. That being said, I do like contemporary architecture as well.

 

Who is my audience?

This blog is for people who are interested in the visual arts, architecture, and history.  Most importantly, this blog is about Hamilton.  My family has lived or worked in Hamilton for over 100 years.  Through my art, not only do I explore Hamilton’s history but my own family’s history, as well.

 

Hamilton’s 24 Hour Film Festival Returns

 

Hamilton's 24 Hour Film Festival
Hamilton’s 24 Hour Film Festival

After taking a year off, the Hamilton’s 24 Hour Film Festival returns this June.

With only five months of film experience, I and two other friends (Jane and Shani) have decided to throw our hat into the ring with our early registration this past Thursday.

As Team Fat Cats – Starving Dogs, we hope to meet the challenge with creative story telling.

It is my hope that by creating a film, we advance our skills as  film-makers. There is nothing like a goal to focus the mind.

Wish us luck.

 

 

Monday’s Update for April 7, 2014

A weekly update of art related activities with a focus on Hamilton, Ontario; by artist Chris Erskine. Updates are posted every Monday.

 Topics for this week:

1.)        Mastering Time

2.)        We Are Not Alone

3.)        Heritage List Goes to Council

4.)        Durand Letter Goes to Council

5.)        Printing Architecture

6.)        Kirk Cobain

 

1.) Mastering time

Time-lapse photography continues to be a challenge.  I am learning how to deal with bright sunny days that wash out the colours.  This means using neutral density lenses and learning how to do colour correction and colour grading.

I have provided raw samples of the work done over the past seven days.

The second challenge is learning how to tell stories with film.  How do you write a story that is interesting to the audience?  What are filming techniques for storytelling?  For example, when do you use wide, medium, and close-up shots?  How do you use sound and music to support the story?  How do you use editing bring everything together?

My goal is to create compelling visual stories Hamilton’s built heritage and thus make more people interested saving our history.

What makes history important is not what it says about the past, but what is says about our future.

2.) We are not alone

We are not alone is trying to save our past.  The Saturday’s edition of the Globe and Mail had an article about a condo developer demolishing an 1896 building in their heritage district.  What is particularly funny-sad about the situation is the situation is that the developer is going to copy the style of the 1896 building in the new building.

Heritage advocates are worried that the new condo project will weaken the support for the heritage district.  What is already sad is the 1896 building was filled with good paying tenants from the film industry.

 

3.) Heritage Inventory List Goes to Council

Last Wednesday, the Heritage Inventory List Project Report was accepted by Council.  The Report listed almost 1,000 potential heritage-worthy buildings in the down-town core.  Along with the list, the Project created a community statement that will act as criteria for determining what properties should or should not be included.  This community statement will vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, and hopefully capture how each area of Hamilton is the product of different histories.

Brian McHattie cited the example of Westdale and the pressure to build larger homes within a community mostly shaped by 1920s and 1930s architecture.

It will be interesting to see the list for the down-town properties.  While Westdale is largely shaped by one period, the inter-war period, others like the down-town are shaped by different eras that all have a valid claim for recognition and preservation.

 

4.) Durand Letter Goes to Council

Durand Neighbourhood Association Raises Questions
Durand Neighbourhood Association Raises Questions

The Durand Neighbourhood Association has expressed concern over the decision making process surrounding the partial demolition of the James Street Baptist Church.  The Heritage Permits Committee is a sub-committee of the Heritage Committee.  All Committees work for Hamilton City Council.  So, it is my understanding that the Durand folks are questioning why the approval for the partial demolition was not reviewed and approved by first the Heritage Committee and then Hamilton City Council.

The letter was addressed to City Council and Joey Coleman noted that it was addressed, but I could not find a discussion (if any) during the nearly six hour meeting of Council.  I do not know if the letter was merely accepted into the records or whether Council offered comments.

If anyone knows, please send me a tweet.

 

5.) Printing Architecture

I came across this amazing VEMIO video on using a 3D printer to create room with architectural features.  It was amazing and reminded me of “I Robert” where the home of the creator of Roberts is demolished because he was dead.  Like fake wood furniture, the home little value after the owner died.

If the home were built in a traditional manner, this would seem like a terrible waste but imagine if they a 3D printer built it.

 

6.) Kirk Cobain

Kirk Cobain dies 20 yrs ago
Kirk Cobain dies 20 yrs ago

Saturday’s was the 20th anniversary of the suicide of Kirk Cobain – it is amazing how time flies.  I remember buying cassette tapes of Nirvana from Sam the Record Man on James Street North.  The Globe and Mail had a good story on Cobain in the Saturday edition.